Protein is made up of several smaller units called amino acids. These are known as the essential amino acids, and they must be consumed in food on a daily basis. Keto-friendly plant protein sources include tofu and soy-based products, as well as most nuts and seeds, although some are higher in carbs than others. Protein is a major component of every cell in your body. After you eat protein, it is broken down into individual amino acids, which are incorporated into your muscles and other tissues. In addition, both clinical experience and scientific studies suggest that getting enough protein can help make weight control easier. This might be because protein can reduce appetite and prevent overeating by triggering hormones that promote feelings of fullness and satisfaction. Finally, there is a growing literature that increasing protein in the context of a low-carbohydrate diet lowers liver fat and blood glucose in the absence of any weight change. Taking into account the different positions among keto and low-carb experts, we recommend a protein intake of 1.
Research has demonstrated that adopting this low-carb, high-fat diet can promote fat loss and even improve certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline 1, 2. This article explains what to eat and avoid while following a keto diet and provides a one-week keto meal plan to get you started. The keto diet, as a rule, is very low in carbs, high in fat and moderate in protein. When following a ketogenic diet, carbs are typically reduced to under 50 grams per day, though stricter and looser versions of the diet exist 3. This carb reduction forces your body to rely on fats for its main energy source instead of glucose — a process known as ketosis. While in ketosis, your body uses ketones — molecules produced in the liver from fats when glucose is limited — as an alternate fuel source. Though fat is often avoided for its high calorie content, research shows that ketogenic diets are significantly more effective at promoting weight loss than low-fat diets 4. Plus, keto diets reduce hunger and increase satiety, which can be particularly helpful when trying to lose weight 5. Your focus should be on reducing carbs while increasing the fat and protein content of meals and snacks. While certain people might only achieve ketosis by eating less than 20 grams of carbs per day, others may be successful with a much higher carb intake. Generally, the lower your carbohydrate intake, the easier it is to reach and stay in ketosis.
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